The Gippy Pages

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Tom needs comments on his site

Apr 22, 2005 | Computers | By Shawn Parker

I’m gonna get in trouble for this.

This is a commentary on Tom’s recent article entitled Not so new Tiger. Since Tom doesn’t have comments up on his new site yet I’ll add some notes here about this article. While some good points were raised there are a few other things to be considered. And, no, I’m not picking on you Tom, I just found a few things to comment on.

Spotlight

First, Spotlight technology is not new to Unix based systems. Only thing they did was, slapping together a nice GUI interface, and letting the GUI query the Index every time users type; sort of like Javascript’s OnChange. slocate, and locate are both Unix Admin’s favorite tools that “transparently” indexes the machine and stores them.

Yes, locate and slocate have been available for years via unix, and they are my default method for finding items on a unix system (I even set up cron scripts to run updatedb on a regular basis) it is far from being a spotlight equivalent. Spotlight will not only catalog the hard drive it will also catalog keywords from the first (I think) 256 words of the document. This includes plain text, word files, EXIF data and even PDF. And since they’ve moved Mail to being single file based instead of flat file database each one of your email messages will be accessible and cataloged by Spolight.

Dashboard

Superkaramba, and Karamba were around even before Apple’s Tiger was rumored to be developed. I am pretty sure that there are native-to-mac programs that allows you to run widgets on your Desktop.

Yep, that would be Konfabulator. I think something that would be a closer comparison to Karamba would be Geektool. Geektool is the “transparent” console that Karamba is. SuperKaramba looks to be more on par with Konfabulator and Dashboard, but seems to actually be closer to the APE hax add on for OSX that allows for hacking the finder to display items on top of the Finder interface.

Safari RSS

On this I agree. Nothing new in the back end, but new up front. The aggregation built into the OS and the look and feel make it a must have in my book. I use Sage in Firefox right now because it is simple, this looks to take it one step farther yet still keep RSS aggregation simpler than tools like NetNewsWire which are total overkill for how I like to read.

iChatAV

iChat AV has always been geared as a collaborative tool. This is a logical next step and to require a broadband connection is in now way able to be considered a downside. And on bandwidth – this will more than likely be used by businesses to collaborate on projects – I don’t know too many people that download torrents at work.

Automator

Not really a front end to crontab – more a front end to Applescript. And, while AppleScript can call shell scripts it isn’t really considered a command line tool. I think you were stretching on this one. Automator has much farther reaching abilites than crontab ever will. With scriptable applications being almost the norm in the Mac world you can do much more sophisticated things with Automator than possible with crontab. While some of the theory may be the same it is hardly a good comparison.

Quicktime 7

My gripe with this is that yet again we’ll have a $30 upgrade fee. OSX really costs $160 to those who use QT Pro. Porting this application is a mandatory task for Apple. There is no way they can expect QT to maintain any kind of market momentum if they don’t make it available to windows. This isn’t about keeping a good app to ourselves, this is about the greater good of making a superior video format readable by everybody.

.Mac Sync

My buddy will like this. He uses .Mac and this will help him keep in sync more easily and require less personal intervention. More of a click and go type thing.

VoiceOver

I don’t see myself using this as it sounds like you won’t either. However, that doesn’t degrade the importance of its inclusion. Think about users with limited use of their hands or some other dexterity limiting factor – this is very important to them.

Mail

I personally am looking forward to this. While Apple is good at thinking different for the most part but Mail has been a bit of a mess up till this update. The interface update alone is worth it. The whole drawer thing was mediocre and just didn’t fit the way a normal person goes about navigating a UI.

Conclusion

I think when reviewing software one has to be very careful to evaluate features on their total merit, not on perceived value to the reviewer. The article brings up some interesting comparisons but hardly offers replacements or even competing technologies for the features reviewed.

Again, sorry Tom. I’m not out to pick on you I just felt this needed some attention.

Tagged as: discourse, comments, convenience